From Monday to Saturday, the School of Music, Theatre & Dance invites Ann Arbor audiences to experience precisely these three components in six student-written plays performed by actors with scripts in hand and an audience who’s willing to listen — and perhaps provide feedback.

Annual Playfest

Basement Arts
7 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday


Playfest features staged theatrical readings of student-written plays. This annual celebration of aspiring playwrights provides both students and the audience to explore the process through which novel playwrights weave their way to Broadway.

Initiated by MT&D Professor OyamO in 2009, Playfest features the work of students from beginner, intermediate and advanced playwriting courses. Through discussions and workshops in class, the students revise and prepare for presentation.

Every production at Playfest is student-run. Each writer is paired with a director and the two work together to recruit people to act in the play.

OyamO said it doesn’t matter if a student is in an introductory playwriting course; talent is talent.

“The whole point is to do a presentation of a script and to have an audience of people respond about what works for them, what they had trouble with, what they really liked, what they didn’t understand, etc,” OyamO said.

One of the works presented at this year’s Playfest includes “Captive Barbies” by Jacob Levi Stroud, an LSA sophomore. Stroud’s play is a one-act drama about the life of a male prostitute and the series of events that follow when he encounters a cop and a couple. “Captive Barbies” tells the tale of these four men as their yearning for escape, power and love conflict with each other’s over the period of one night.

Milena Westarb, also an LSA sophomore, will feature her play, “The Loving Demise of Lord Blackwell and His Wife.” Her work entails the story of a woman who is determined to take large strides in order to gain her husband’s wealth.

OyamO hopes that his students submit their works to professional theater companies around the country. He added that when students take their work off campus, the audiences might not know them as well. Playfest might prepare them to enter that world, but they have to find ways to keep a wider audience interested and engaged.

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